Defying gravity, you can combine traditional yoga poses with Pilates by using a hammock to perform aerial yoga. Aerial yoga allows you to complete poses that can be difficult to do on the ground. When you use a hammock, you don’t have to fight gravity and can use the support of this tool to help your body lengthen. These are some of the poses you can complete with your hammock and how they will benefit your body.
‘Our picks for the best aerial hammocks.’
1. Half Boat Pose
With both of your feet on the floor and standing in the center of your mat, position the hammock in front of you. The hammock should be touching your muscles in your butt. Take hold of it with both hands by reaching up and back, slide your arms through as if you are putting on a backpack. Slide your hands down until they are at hip level with your wrists resting on your hips and stand tippy-toed.
Keeping your feet spread as far apart as is comfortable, put the bottom of the hammock which is now forming a ‘U’ against the bone at the base of your spine. Lean back and allow your abdominal muscles to lift up your legs. Use your arms to keep the hammock in place and do not let it slide up your back or swing. Bend your legs at the knee and put your weight on to the hammock. Bring your hands up farther, so you are able to straighten your knees while keeping your legs apart to maintain your balance. Take five deep breaths.
2. Down Dog
Down Dog is one of the most widely used yoga poses. Going into a hands and knees position on the floor, set your knees below your hips and hands a just ahead of your shoulders. Pull your knees away from the floor as you exhale and keep knees slightly bent as your heels come away from the floor. When using a hammock to perform this position, you place it where your hips crease. This placement will allow your thighbones to be guided back which is often difficult to achieve from the floor. The hammock will also relieve pinching at the front of your hip joints when bending forward.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Exhale your breath as you bend forward from your hips. You are lengthening your front torso with this move as you bring it out of the groin area. Using a hammock will allow you to fold forward at the hips and give you a more natural alignment.
4. One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
The One-Legged King Pigeon Pose puffs out your chest with a deep backbend making you look much like a pigeon. Because of the deep backbend, you may experience difficulty getting into this pose from the floor. A hammock will let gravity help you to relax your back leg while allowing your spine to curve naturally into the pose.
5. Reclining Angle Pose
From your Half Boat Pose inside the hammock, you want to move your legs as far apart as possible. Leaning backward let your hands slide towards your hips and once stable, you can release your hands and spread arms wide. Allow your legs to be heavy as you sink to the floor using your abdominals to stretch and move your tailbone toward your heels.
6. Aerial Lunges
Stand behind your hammock with the bottom being placed at your pubic-bone level. Use your hands to separate the hammock to form a “U” shape. Putting your right leg inside of the “U,” you should allow the hammock to support your upper leg as you bend at the knee. Keep the left foot stable on the mat with your toes pointing forward. Lunge with your right leg as you stretch your left quad and hip. Switch legs after five lunges.
7. Aerial Yoga
Aerial Yoga will combine your acrobatic skills with anti-gravity moves. This form of yoga helps you gain more length in your spine as you find safer alignment in your poses. Flying yoga benefits your spinal decompression and works great as a pain reliever. With the use of a hammock, you will find these poses less challenging with more accessible postures.
A hammock will make your inversions easier no matter your experience or physical condition. Your body will receive improved oxygenation as your blood flow increases to your brain. Other benefits you’ll experience are improved digestion, elimination along with better skin tone. Your body and mind will become energized as you find relief from spinal pain and gain help for insomnia. Aerial Yoga will help you to build your confidence and self-esteem.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Chris Arock
Shortly after being dragged to aerial yoga by my girlfriend, I surprised myself by enjoying it more than expected. After a few classes, and Kristen giving us a few extra minutes after the class, we end up talking about how cool it would be to get some powder and have an original photoshoot.
Right away Kristen was down and 2 weeks later we made it happen. The lighting was done using portable speed lights and white umbrellas connected to a wireless transmitter. Setup was really easy, we tried to get the room as dark as possible to capture exclusively was would be exposed by the flashes.